Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom
Something is not right in the lovely subdivision in Jennifer Haley's play. The kids are all obsessed with a new video game that re-creates their homes down to the smallest detail, except that it is infested with zombies. It's not a long trip from the zombies in the game to the zombies in the neighborhood at large: the adults who look shell-shocked at every turn. Their children don't talk to them, their marriages have fallen apart, and the outward beauty and safety of their homes has been replaced by the oppression of the neighborhood association. Under the direction of Wade Vaughn, the Pro Rata production brings out quite a bit of the subtext here, but the overall show is uneven. Some of that comes from Haley's script, which doesn't probe into the underbelly of the American Dream enough to reach beyond the basic "we're not talking to each other enough" message. That this message is explicitly noted at the end really doesn't help. The acting is also a bit uneven, as each of the four performers is asked to portray a variety of characters. Some of them work well, but others have trouble moving beyond the basic troubled-teenager or sad-adult stage. The piece is immersive, from the game's World of Warcraft-by-way-of-Silent Hill vibe to the clever pixilated props (created by Amy Bouthilette) to the Post-it notes full of hints that are spread not just throughout the stage but in the lobby and even the programs.
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